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The 'WE' Factor in Retirement Planning

This article charges people to think of retirement planning in a different way.

When a financial plan is being developed the planner usually includes the obstacles that may be encountered.  Hence, the prudent planner will include the strategies that should be employed to overcome the obstacles.  However, many of us believe that the goal can only be achieved alone.  Today’s advertisements are all about ‘My’.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that financial planning is only about YOU.  Here’s the great news, it’s about the ‘We’ factor.  Why? Because one or more of the 3 D’s will impact on your retirement plan: Disability, Death or Divorce.  There’s a Jamaican saying which highlights the importance of the ‘We’ factor: one han caan clap.  The 3 D’s are best overcome when there are strategies around a clearly defined ‘We’.


Disability: This can be temporary, partial or permanent.  Have you ever felt so ill that when someone visited with you good health was experienced in that moment of fellowship?  Recovery from a disability is a team effort: ‘We’.  Even if you had maximum income to pay for medical treatment and other services, you will need someone to assist you through your period of disability.


Death: There’s a saying in the insurance industry that ‘life insurance is for the living’.  The purchase of life insurance is not motivated by an ‘I’ strategy but the ‘We’ factor.  The ‘We’ factor avoids one’s assets being frittered away and strategies will be put in place to provide enough liquid assets which pays for those final debts, provide an income for heirs and there will be a properly executed Will and/or Trust.  Apart from individuals, persons who own businesses must also think of the ‘We’ factor.  One such organization that readily comes to mind is JMMB …everyone knows who Joan Duncan was.  Clearly, her vision was not only a successful JMMB but it included the ‘We’ factor.  The outcome is that not only her heirs have benefitted but most importantly the people of Jamaica.  A ‘We’ factor leaves no room for family squabbles over ‘ded lef’ but focuses on preserving the inheritance for future generations. 


Divorce: When one gets married the minister usually pronounces that the two are now one.  Upon the happening of this event the parties should end their ‘I’ approach and start a new thinking towards life for this oneness.  Therefore the word ‘We’ becomes a major factor in financial planning.  When a marriage ends in divorce some individuals see it as an opportunity to legally claim all the assets for themselves: a sense of ‘I’ satisfaction.  Others see it as an opportunity to act in an equitable manner: ‘We’ factor.   Even in divorce there’s a ‘We’ factor that needs to be planned for, especially where children are involved. 


Arguably, your financial plan does have an ‘I’ status but only as it refers to defining your responsibilities.  Otherwise, it’s the ‘We’ factor that makes planning worthwhile.  In your retirement plan have you identified who belongs to your ‘We’ category?

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